I woke up to the sound of my cellphone ringing. With half-open eyes, I reached for it and answered.
“Hello?” I said.
“Hello Arun, this is Dev.” the voice from the other end was that of my Boss.
“Yes Dev? Tell me.” I said.
“Tell you? You tell me!” he sounded annoyed. “Where the hell are you? We are supposed to go on that big sales call together!”
“Oh, yes” I said, looking at the clock… damn it was already 10 a.m. “Sorry Dev, I took some medicine last night and overslept.”
“You’re still at home?” he said incredulously.
“Yes, but sorry, I’ll….I’ll meet you at the client’s office directly in…half an hour.” I said.
“OK, hurry up, Arun!” he said and disconnected the phone.
I sat up and looked around. The bedroom was empty.
“Shilpa! Why didn’t you wake up me?” I yelled. No answer. “Shilpa??”
I got up and walked around the house. She wasn’t in the kitchen, living room, any other room or any of the bathrooms. I even poked my head into the studio but she wasn’t there. Where had she gone? I called out her name a few more times, but no answer. I finally decided to call up her cellphone, in case she had gone to the store for some groceries. But when I dialed her number, I heard her phone ring in the bedroom!
I walked into the bedroom and saw the cellphone ringing on the nightstand. I disconnected the phone and it stopped ringing. That’s when I noticed a piece of paper kept under the phone. I picked it up and started reading. It said –
I am sorry for everything I have done. And I am sorry if I said some mean things to you. The situation we are in is very complicated and tempers are bound to flare. I think we should both do some deep thinking about our future. It is only after a lot of thought that we should even talk. I am going away for a few days. I need a complete break from you, and from all this drama. Until yesterday I thought I could face it with you and talk it out, but then you told me about the video clip being circulated, and that was the last straw. Balram promised me he would keep it private. But he clearly broke his promise. I can’t handle this any more.
So I am going away. Don’t wonder where. Don’t try to find me. I am not going to my parents’ house or any of my cousins or friends’ place. And no, I am not going to any of my lovers’ places either. Just let me be for a few days. I’ll keep emailing you to inform you I am safe. When I have done enough thinking, I’ll come back. Until then, you do some thinking too. Think about our future, if you think we should have one together. And how we should live it.
P.S. I am leaving my cellphone here so you or anyone else doesn’t get in touch with me.
I read the letter three times in shock. She had just taken off while I was sleeping. Gone AWOL. Supposedly to think. Probably to think. But was there some other reason, I wondered. I stood there thinking for a couple of minutes when I was reminded of the sales call. Trying to put Shilpa out of my mind, I quickly showered, got ready and left for the call.
A week went by very quickly. Shilpa was still not back. She’d send me one email everyday. With the same text in all of them – “I am fine. Love you.” I replied to her emails with questions about where she was and who she was with. I pleaded with her to come back home. I even during the later emails, apologized for acting like a jerk. But she never replied to those emails. Just sent the one line emails about her being fine.
I immersed myself in work. But I also thought, like Shilpa had asked me to. The more I thought, the more I felt bad for her. Yes, she had made a mistake. Several mistakes. But she had been played by a master manipulator. And even now, she was sorry. She still loved me. She promised she would never repeat her mistakes. And I loved her too. I loved her a lot. I could not bear the thought of losing her. In a few days, I had decided that I would not ask Shilpa any more details. I’d just tell her that I forgave her for her mistake, and we should try to restart our life from scratch.
So one evening at the office, I sat and wrote her a long email saying all this, and begged her to reply to it or come home soon. It was long, emotional, contrite, understanding….. I was positive she would reply to it. Hoping that this would end the episode, I set for home. As I was driving, I felt the cellphone ring in my pocket. Expecting it to be Shilpa, I hurriedly took it out and answered it, without worrying about cops stopping me.
“Hello Shilpa?” I said enthusiastically.
“No.” a female voice answered. “This is Salma.”
“Salma???” I asked, confused about if I knew anyone by that name.
“Yes, from the detective agency, Mr. Arun.” she replied.
“Oh yes, yes.” I said. “Tell me?”
“Mr. Arun, we have completed our investigations about your wife. If you can come in any time today before 9, I can give you the full report.” she said.
“Oh…err…. what did you find?” I asked, suddenly feeling silly to have hired a detective agency to investigate my wife.
“Well, Mr. Arun…. it’s not something I can tell you over the phone.” she replied.
“Do you think…” I asked “I would want to know it all?”
There was silence on the other end. “Hello?” I said.
“Yes, I am here, Mr. Arun.” Salma said, “I was just thinking about your question. You know I had suggested you don’t start this investigation in the first place. And yet you insisted. So I don’t know whether you want to know it all or not.”
“I see.” I said, trying to decide what I should do.
“Let me ask you this. Have you made a decision about divorcing your wife?” she asked.
“Yes.” I replied. “I have decided not to. I want to give her another chance.”
“Then, Mr. Arun, you don’t need to know anything I have to tell you. Just work on rebuilding your marriage. And forget about the past. Don’t worry about the remaining payment. Consider it my belated gift. Bye.”
And she hung up. Content with my decision, I drove on and went home.
The next day at work, I got a reply from Shilpa to my heartfelt email. Even this was short. It just said –
Thank you for the lovely email. I love you too. But there are some more things I need to sort out that I haven’t told you about. I need to think a little more. But I’ll be home soon.
The email really pissed me off. Even after this, she was hiding from me? Even now, after my giving her a blank check, she was being high-handed? What the hell? I spent the rest of the day scowling and snapping at everyone in the office. And cursing Shilpa in my mind. I kept thinking about her email – some other things she hadn’t told me about. And then I thought about Salma’s call. Maybe I did need to know it all, I thought.
After I got off work that evening, I went to the detective agency. The receptionist asked me to wait while Salma finished talking to another client. I sat there, my heart beating fast, wondering what information I’d come to know. After fifteen excruciating minutes, a man walked out of her office, clasping a file very tightly, and an angry look on her face. Salma walked out behind him, saying,
“I am sorry, Mr.Jain.”
He grunted and walked out. She then saw me, and sighed,
“You. I somehow knew it. I knew you couldn’t resist knowing.” she said. “Anyway, come to my office. Rosie, bring in the Shilpa file.”
I followed Salma into her office and sat on the chair in front of her. She sat down and asked me,
“What drink would you like?”
“Water is fine.” I said.
“No, I mean….what sort of a liquor would you like? Will scotch do?” she asked.
“It’s OK, I don’t need any alcohol.” I said.
“Trust me, Mr. Arun. You do. I’ll ask for some to be brought. You don’t have to drink it if you don’t want.” she picked up her phone and said, “Rosie, get that bottle of red label and one glass.”
The next couple of minutes passed in silence, as I stared at the table and Salma stared at me. Finally the door opened and Rosie came in, a thick file under her armpit, and a glass and a scotch bottle in her two hands. She kept the bottle and glass in front of me, handed the file to Salma and left.
Salma opened the bottle and poured me a large one.
“Sorry, we don’t have any ice.” she said and pushed the glass towards me I didn’t touch it.
“Could we get on with it, please?” I said impatiently.
“Alright,” she said opening the file, “first let me tell you about our standard disclaimer. We can not reveal the sources we got our information from, or how we got them. But rest assured, that no one knows that there was a detective agency snooping around, or that you were looking for some information on your wife. So when I tell you something and you ask, who told me this, I can’t answer that question. I do have evidence for some things. But not for all. It’s up to you whether to take it as true or rumors.”
“Okay, I’ll start with information relevant to whatever you told me when you came here last week.” she said, flipping through some pages and reading carefully. “Your wife did indeed have an affair with Mr. Balram during the last couple of months. The affair started after he started coming to your house daily to model for a portrait. For the first couple of days, she worked on the portrait. But then, according to my sources, she discovered she wasn’t able to paint it too well, and got worried about completing it in time. On approximately the 4th or 5th day, a Mr. Tariq started coming to your house too.”
“Tariq?” I said, wondering why the name seemed familiar.
“Yes, Mr. Tariq teaches the painting course your wife was taking.” Salma said.
“Oh yes, her teacher. Tall old man?” I asked. Salma checked the paper, and said,
“Yes. Mr. Tariq, age 62, 6 ft 2, white hair, medium built. Instead of your wife, he started doing the portrait. Apparently so that your wife could submit it and complete the course.”
“What? Why?” I said dumbfounded. Shilpa always complained about how strict and demanding Tariq was. I wondered why he would help Shilpa cheat on the course. But even as I thought about it, I knew the answer.
“Mr. Tariq and your wife have been having an affair for almost a year now.” Salma said reading from the file “Their meetings would happen right before or after the class. And a few times, he also came to your house when you weren’t there. And, from the information I have….. had you gone on a week long trip to Singapore four months ago?”
“Yes I had. For a sales training conference.” I answered.
“During that time, your wife and Mr. Tariq went to Goa for a few days. They stayed at the D’Costa Resort in Vagator. Here are some pictures we were able to obtain.” Salma said, sliding a some papers in my direction. I picked up the papers and looked at them.
They were color printouts of a few pictures. The first two showed Shilpa, dressed in a bikini with a leather strap around her neck, lying down on the beach and waving at the camera. The next two were of Tariq and Shilpa, hugging each other. The next one had them kissing. The next one showed her lying on the sand, face down with just her bikini bottoms on. And in the next two, she had turned on her side, displaying her boobs to the camera. As shocking as these pictures were, the next two were the ones that really blew my mind. The first one showed her on her knees, topless, with three white men standing around her with erect dicks. She had one dick in her mouth and the two others in each of her hand. The last picture showed her completely naked spread-eagled on her back, with Tariq’s dick about to enter her, as she had another man’s dick in her mouth. In all these pictures, Shilpa was wearing the leather strap in her neck, even when she was fully naked.
“Bitch!” I said, shocked at the pictures.
“I am sorry, Mr. Arun. It turns out that Mr. Balram is not the first man your wife cheating on you with.” Salma said in a sympathetic voice. “Should I continue, or have you heard enough?”
“Please continue.” I said, reaching for the glass of scotch and taking a sip.
“So back to how the affair with Mr. Balram started.” Salma said, looking down at the file again. “Mr. Tariq came for a few days and painted the basic portrait, and Mr. Balram would pose for it. From what I know, and I have no solid proof for this, just based on what a single source said” she flipped a page, “Mr. Tariq….gave your wife an order to seduce Mr. Balram.”
“An order?” I asked.
“Yes, just a second.” she flipped back to the previous page and read for a few seconds. “As the leather ornament in your wife’s neck in those pictures indicates, your wife was in a ……. subservient relation with Mr. Tariq.”
“I’m sorry, what?” I asked, confused.
“Well…. they weren’t so much boyfriend and girlfriend as….. master and slave.” she said shaking her head. “The kind of sexual perversions on comes to know of in this business, Mr. Arun, are just…. unimaginable.”
“What do you mean, master and slave?” I asked.
“Well, I believe the lifestyle it called…..BDSM? Where a person, often a woman, willingly accepts to act like a slave…often sexual slave…. to a master, usually but not always, a man. Do you want me to google it and show you?” Salma asked pointing at her computer.
“No, that’s OK. I understand.” I said “Please continue.”
“So Mr. Tariq ordered your wife to seduce Mr. Balram, and she did it. By wearing increasing fewer clothes, from what we know. Apparently, Mr. Balram initially resisted, because of his ties to your family. But in a couple of days, he could not resist your wife’s……” she paused “machinations, and gave in.”
“I see. So she was lying till the very end.” I said picking up the glass and emptying the whole drink down my throat. Salma pushed the bottle closer to me and I poured myself another drink.
“After a few days, Mr. Tariq completed the basic outlines of the portrait, from which point your wife could continue further. And he stopped coming to your house. But the affair with Mr. Balram continued. After a couple of days, your maid, a Ms. Savitri, accidentally walked in on them having sex. Your wife had forgotten to lock the door and the maid was late that day. She walked in, assuming the door had been left open for her. And when she went to the room your wife paints in, she saw Mr. Balram and your wife engaged in copulation.”
“I see.” I said, taking a big swig of the scotch.
“Now it seems that Ms. Savitri and Mr. Balram had previously had sexual relations. After she saw your wife and Mr. Balram together, Ms. Savitri got very agitated. She attacked your wife in rage and they fought for a while. Eventually, your wife subdued Ms. Savitri with the help of Mr. Balram, and managed to eject her from the premises. But Ms. Savitri threatened to make your wife pay for her ways.”
“This just keeps going deeper and deeper.” I said, slurring a bit.
“Mr. Arun.” Salma said, “I can stop whenever you wish.”
“No, please, continue.” I said, sipping some more scotch, bracing myself for the next revelation.
“According to my sources, that encounter left Mr. Balram rather shaken. He was already ridden with guilt because of his family connections with you. Now this encounter with Ms. Savitri further complicated the situation. He was also worried by Ms. Savitri’s threat. He suggested to your wife that they should stop their affair, and tell you everything. Your wife refused. They argued, and he left. So that day, he came to your house for tea, hoping to tell you everything regardless.”
“He wanted to tell me everything?” I asked incredulously.
“Yes, according to my sources.” Salma said.
“Who are your sources exactly?” I said, slurring and raising my voice.
“Now, now, Mr. Arun. I already told you.” Salma said, “I can not reveal that. I am just telling you the information we gathered. Whether to believe it or not is up to you.”
“That’s not fair!” I said. “Anyway, he wanted to tell me, then?”
“Your wife was vehemently opposed to the idea. She used many means to stall him and manipulate him. For instance, when you were all seated at the dining table, she apparently kept playing with Mr. Balram’s organ under the table. She threatened him saying she would report him for rape. And other things. That day, Mr. Balram finally changed his mind and gave in to your wife’s wishes.” Salma said.
“However, he told your wife that he would not come over for the portrait any more. The next day, when he did not arrive as planned, your wife called him up. But he did not answer her calls. So she went over to his house. His servant, a Mr. Mangal, whom you saw in that video clip you told me about, had been given orders by Mr. Balram to not let her in even if she came. So he stopped her from entering, and which point…” Salma turned another page and read, “your wife started disrobing at the door.”
“She what??” I asked, unsure of what I had heard.
“She started disrobing at the door. Mr. Mangal, unaccustomed to a woman of her beauty and social standing exposing herself to him, gave in to her wiles. What ensued was sexual intercourse between your wife and Mr. Mangal. Mr. Balram heard the noises, and unable to resist the erotic scene he saw, joined in. And……” Salma paused and looked at me, and then continued. “The next day…”
“Who whoa, wait! The next day? You were just talking about what happened with Balram and Mangal. Did you skip something” I asked.
“Yes. It is…. not important, Mr. Arun. Just lurid details.” Salma said.
“Read the whole thing!” I shouted, and Salma continued,
“Mr. Balram heard the noises and unable to resist the erotic scene he saw, joined in. And your wife had sex with both of them simultaneously. Mr. Balram penetrating her in the…..conventional manner and Mr. Mangal…..” she paused and took a deep breath, “sodomizing her at the same time.”
I closed my eyes and imagined the scene. Shilpa, my exquisitely beautiful wife, sandwiched between the fat old man Balram and his stick thin servant. Balram fucking her in the cunt, and Mangal fucking her in the ass. Whenever I had suggested anal sex, she had always dismissed it right away. And here she was, going around getting buggered by random servants?
“Now we come to the matter of the video clips.” Salma said.
“Video clips? More than one?” I asked.
“Yes, the clip you saw was just one of the several taken that day. It is also the only one in which her face is not visible. In all the other clips, her face is visible. And…. the sex has been captured on the camera in great detail.” Salma said.
“Oh fuck!” I said, realizing why the news of video clips circulating had made Shilpa run away. The other clips were out there too! For the world to see and identify my wife engaged in a sordid threesome.
“One thing though. All the other clips are….private.” Salma said.
“What do you mean private?” I asked.
“I mean, they are not in circulation like the one you saw. As far as we know. We checked all websites where such clips and routinely uploaded, and none of the other clips have appeared there. The clip you saw, with her face hidden, is the only one circulating among the general public, as far as we know.” Salma.
“Well, hurray!” I said sarcastically.
“The next day” Salma continued, ignoring my comment, “things got a little more complicated. Mr. Balram was at your house, posing for the picture. By this stage, we are told, your wife would routinely paint in the nude. There was very little painting actually. Mostly sex. That is when Ms. Savitri paid a visit to your house again. And she was accompanied by..” she flipped the page, “…four more men.”
“Four men? Four? What men?” I asked.
“According to the information we have…..Mr. Shambhu who runs a paan shop on Maruti Road, Mr. Gurmeet who is a postman, Mr. Shyam who is a waiter in a restaurant, and a Mr. Pinku who is unemployed and homeless. Ms. Savitri directed the men to have sex with your wife as they pleased. There was a scuffle. Mr. Balram was manhandled by the four men and forced to cooperate. Your wife resisted their advances.”
“Hah! That’s the first I have heard her resist advances from anyone but me.” I said bitterly.
“Your wife resisted their advances for a while, but then was sufficiently aroused to cooperate. What ensued was an orgy in your living room, being directed by Ms. Savitri, in which your wife was ravaged by the men for the whole afternoon. Ms. Savitri also eventually joined in with Mr. Balram, and by the end of the whole incident, there was rapprochement between your wife and Ms. Savitri.” Salma said.
“Any videos or pictures of that?” I asked.
“No.” Salma said flatly and continued, “An understanding was reached between the two ladies, in which they would share Mr. Balram’s company. Subsequently, your wife continued having relations with Mr. Balram and Ms. Savitri, and on other occasions with the other four men that Savitri had brought along.”
“On a daily basis. And that is pretty much all the information we have on the events of the past few weeks.” Salma said.
“Did she continue to sleep with other men in our house after I caught her and Balram together?” I asked.
Salma looked at the file and said,
“Yes, I am afraid so. According to the timeline we have pieced together, she had at least one of them men visit her for sex during the day, right until the day you came to me with this case. And the next day, she left you house and went to Mr. Tariq’s farmhouse.”
“Err…what?” I asked, sitting up straight.
“Yes, about a week back, the day after you gave us the case, early in the morning one of my men had just taken his position outside your house to keep an eye on your wife, when he saw her walk out of the house. She took an auto-rickshaw and he started following her on his scooter. He followed her to a farmhouse on the outskirts of the city. A farmhouse that we later found out belonged to Mr. Tariq. That is where she has been for the last many days.”
I sat there, with my hand on my head. She wanted a break to think, she had said. And she was spending it with her lover…. or her master.
“What has she been doing there?” I asked wearily.
Salma picked up the phone and spoke in it,
“Rosie, did Johnny drop off the DVDs? Okay, bring them in.”
Then she turned to me and said,
“I am not sure exactly what she has been doing there. My man hasn’t written out his report yet. But he has managed to gain access to the farmhouse and taken some pictures and videos with a hidden camera. He burnt them into DVDs and was about to submit them with a written report when we spoke yesterday and you said you didn’t want to know anything. So I told him not to bother.”
That’s when Rosie walked in with 3 DVDs and handed them to Salma.
“Then today when you called, I asked him to drop off these DVDs. They have pictures and clips from the farmhouse, and also the private clips from the time your wife had relations with Mr. Balram and Mr. Mangal. Here, they are yours.” Salma said sliding them towards me. “You can watch them and get an idea what your wife has been up to for the last week. Frankly, I am sick of this whole case.”
Salma closed the file, slid it towards me and got up.
“That is all, Mr. Arun. This file has the whole report in detail. It is yours. And please, don’t bother paying me the rest of the amount.”
“No, no, Ms. Salma” I slurred, getting up, “I insist. You worked hard.”
“No, really, Mr. Arun, it’s okay.” Salma said.
I got up to thank her and leave, but I had trouble standing straight. I had drunk a little too much scotch, I realized. Salma also realized it.
“Mr. Arun, did you come by car?” she asked.
“Yes.” I said, holding the chair for support.
“You are in no position to drive.” Salma said and picked up the phone “Rosie, is Johnny still around? Good, send him over.”
In a few seconds, the door opened, and a young non-descript looking man, whom I presumed to be Johnny, walked in.
“Johnny, this is Mr. Arun. Drive him home, and then come back.” Salma said to him.
“Yes, Madam.” Johnny said.
A few minutes later, I was sitting in the passenger seat of my car, almost ready to pass out, as Johnny drove the car. He drove the car silently for a while, until the fresh air coming in from the window sobered me up a little. I sat up and asked him,
“So you shot the farmhouse videos in these DVDs?”
“How bad are they?” I asked.
He kept quiet.
“Tell me how bad are they?” I asked again.
“Sir…. don’t mind me saying this.” he said politely “but your wife is the most sick depraved woman I have ever seen in my life. If my wife was even 1% as sick as her, I would have divorced her long back.”
“Yeah, yeah, I know, I am the stupid cuckolded by his disgusting wife.” I said.
He drove in silence for a while more and said,
“I am sorry, Sir.”
“Why are you sorry, man?” I asked. “She is the sick one. I am the cuckold. What’s there for you to be sorry about?”
“Because….. I also fucked her, Sir. At the farmhouse.” he said.
“What?” I asked.
“Please understand, Sir. I didn’t have a choice. It was an invitation only sex-club type thing. I had to gain entry to gather evidence. And once I managed to get an invitation through Salma Madam’s contacts, I…..well…I had to do whatever or…whoever everyone else was doing.” he said apologetically.
“Hmmmm.” I said. “How was she?”
“How was she? My wife? Was she a good fuck? You are the first man I am actually talking to who has fucked my wife. Well, about fucking my wife anyway.”
“Sir….please…..” he said hesitantly.
“Just answer me, dammit!” I yelled.
“She is…well, god has made her just for fucking men, Sir. She is a natural. And very talented. Does things with her mouth and cunt that I never thought possible. And her stamina…… that night I was…. probably the 20th man she was with. And yet, she was as enthusiastically involved as if I were the first.” he said and stopped.
“Well, I am glad you got to taste my wife too. All men who have fucked my wife should form a voting bloc, I tell you. The number must be big enough to turn elections!” I said angrily.
Johnny kept quiet. In a few minutes, we reached my home. Johnny parked the car in the garage and escorted me to the door. He handed me the file and the DVDs and was about to go when I said to him,
“Give me directions to the farmhouse.”
Johnny turned around and said,
“Let it go, Sir. Just forget her. Divorce her.”
“Just give me directions to the farmhouse. Where exactly is it?” I growled.
“Sir, even if you go there. No one will let you in. It has tight security. You need invitation cards to enter.” he said.
“Give me yours.” I said.
“Sir, please, just let it go.” he said.
I caught hold of his collar with both hands, pulled him close to me, and yelled,
“Give me the directions and the card, or I swear I’ll kill you.”
I felt a hard punch land in my stomach and I immediately let go of his collar. He kicked me a few more times in the stomach and I sank to the ground in pain.
“You asshole!” he shouted “How dare you lay a hand on me? I know you are in shock so I won’t do anything more to you, but the last guy that tried to manhandle me now wishes he still had his hands.”
Johnny spat at me, turned around and started walking away. He then turned back and walked towards me. I cowered, thinking he was going to kick me again, but instead he stopped in front of me. He took something out of his pocket and threw it at me.
“Here. This is the invitation card. The address and directions are on the back. I still think you are an idiot to want to go there. But go if you want. It’s your funeral!”
I grabbed the invitation card with both hands and watch him walk out of the gate.
————————— by aurelius1982